I never played Resident Evil 4. In fact the last Resident Evil I played right through was Resident Evil 2, and that was back in the Playstation 1 era. I was a massive fan of it. By todays standards its terrible, but no one can deny the atmosphere of Resident Evil 2 was eerie. It set the mood and you felt like you were in a fight for your life. At the time it was a spooky experience. My how games have changed today. Resident Evil 5 is an amazing experience, and brings some of the nostalgia I felt the first I played Resident Evil 2.
The 5th installment of Resident Evil puts you in the shoes of Chris Redfield, and you have been teamed up with a young African woman who knows how to handle herself. This pairing up feels similar to the Prince Of Persia/Elika combination, only if you have a controller handy you can use her too. Set in the shanty towns of Africa you are thrust in to an all out blood bath right from the start. The villagers are vicious and they want your brains, well maybe not but you get the idea. This is Survival Horror, with emphasis put on survival. You can try and be Rambo at times, but be warned it won't work all the time. You will find yourself running for your life. And this is what I really enjoy about Resident Evil 5. So many games encourage you to kill every last enemy, but that isn't so easy. Especially when ammunition is quite scarce. You really have to learn to conserve your ammunition.
One thing that shocked me was just how far the zombies have come since the Playstation 1 era. Gone are these walking targets from Resident Evil 1. These zombies can rush you, use weapons, jump through windows and even ride motorbikes. They have pulled out all stops to try and get you. Stale enemy AI can lead to a stale gaming experience. And Resident Evil 5 isn't a stale game.
The co-op mode works extremely well. I for one don't really like relying on AI to get through if I can help it. And a decent co-op mode can really extend the life time of a game. And this game is no exception. It works flawlessly, allowing you to set up ambushes and to snipe from distances while your pal runs through and clears all the close range enemies out. If you have a spare controller handy I highly recommend getting a friend around to play it. In my opinion it will make it a bit easier and a lot more fun.
Graphics are awesome, some of the best Iv'e seen as of late. Colors are beautiful and the textures are varied. It really is a beautiful game. I did notice some frame rate drops, but in all honesty it wasn't that bad. It didn't slow down to an atrocious 3 frames per second, but it was noticeable. But not noticeable enough to completely ruin the game.
Now there are things in this game I feel really let Resident Evil down. And one of the complaints is the controls. Resident Evil always been synonymous with terrible controls. And Resident Evil 5, while definitely an improvement, is still flawed in this regard. The controls felt like a flawed attempt at Gears Of War. Reloading is an absolute disaster. You cant run and reload, or run and shoot. You come to a complete halt and then start shooting or reloading. I feel an option to run and shoot, and reload, would of made it a lot better.
Another thing that let me down was some of the harder enemies you had to defeat. I haven't played Resident Evil since 2000 and automatically I knew how to do defeat these more difficult enemies. And that is rather disappointing for someone who wants to have the living daylights scared out of them. It is a major anti climax.
My last gripe is the atmosphere of the game. Yes its a new generation and game development has come far, but for the majority of the game I didn't feel like I was playing a Resident Evil game. It didn't feel spooky. I enjoyed the fact that just around the corner zombies would jump out at you. I didn't feel this when I played Resident Evil 5. Anyone who remembers playing Resident Evil 3 for the first time would remember what it was like not knowing when Nemesis was going to rear his ugly head. It kept you on edge. Unfortunately this game didn't do it for me. I would take a darker atmosphere over a more violent atmosphere anytime.
Overall Resident Evil 5 is a good game. Unfortunately some aspects of this game really let me down. Don't get me wrong I liked playing it, and anyone who plays it will like it, but what could of been a master piece ended up being just okay. In all honesty rent this game first to see if you will like it. Then see if it justifies its AU$109.95 dollar price tag.